POS Back-ups

What a great topic for discussion! I was really surprised by the results of the recent poll, and had hoped someone would want to discuss it.

How often do you back-up your POS files?
For us - at least once per day.

Our pos does a data file backup at the end of each day, and we do a full folder backup twice per week via the internet. (to the house PC) Once in a while we also burn a copy to CD.

I meant to ask how many people back up to multiple devices in a rotation (not just a single USB key or Zip Disk), how many of them REMOVE the (USB key or zip disk) media when not being used for backup. I ask due to concern for power surge, fire, or theft, which would likely take the contents of the backup device at the same time as the computer.

The December 1 2005 Grumble results:

'05 '04 '03
39% 36% n/a Daily backup WOW
27% 22% n/a Weekly backup
10% 14% n/a Monthly backup
14% 12% n/a Once in a blue moon
01% 02% n/a I DO NOT back up my data

'05 '04 '03
31% 28% n/a I back up to a CD or DVD
20% 04% n/a I back up to a ram chip
17% 12% n/a I back up to a removable hard drive
12% n/a n/a I back up to another pc in the same office
11% 18% n/a I back up to ZIP disks
04% 07% n/a I back up to floppy disks
04% 06% n/a I back up remotely via the internet
04% 04% n/a I back up to a DAT or streaming cartridge/tape
03% 03% n/a OTHER METHOD (see voting thread)

'05 '04 '03
24% 29% n/a I store backups off-site in case of fire or theft WOW
This is a great topic Mike. I'm surprised that more people haven't responded. People understand the necessity of having insurance for their business but don't always understand that backing up their data is another form or insurance.

One of the best systems I heard about was a business owner who had a backup device (CD/Zip/USB Key) for each day of the week they were open. They would backup the daily information for Friday onto the Friday backup and then remove it from their business.

The benefit was that if something happened to the computer or the location, the backup was safe. Also, if an error was detected on Saturday (but actually made on Friday) they could pop in the Thursday backup and put things right.

I would love to hear other ideas.
I'm not nearly as fancy, Carol. I simply burned a CD at the end of each work week. I kept the current one and the previous week and tossed the oldest one away after each burn.

BTW, tell Bert that, not only did everything work out that we had talked about, but I am already back down South and situated!


We do automatic backups from our server to other hard drives on the network and we have a tape drive that we do full server backups every night but I always had trouble working up a reliable off site system. The tapes would all end up at home and I would miss a backup until I brought the stack back. CD's always seemed error prone.

My current off-site strategy is based on 1gig key ring flash drives. I bought one for our bookkeeper and all the principals. I grab them every day and copy the pos files to them so I have four backups going various places every night in addition to our inhouse copies.

I would be interested in finding out more from people who are using remote internet back-ups. I like the idea of automatically dumping a file copy every night but I don't know too much about the various services.

Peter Bowe
Saline Picture Frame Co.
I use a variety of backups and keep at least one backup off-site.

USB drives / flash drives are great. Burning a CD or a reusable DVD (even better) is another option.

Also, I email myself a backup at one of my email accounts (Google mail allows me to have over 2 gig of storage).

But one important thing everyone should have: A bootable CD for your PC. If your PC goes down and you cannot boot it up normally, all your backups are no good, unless you have a spare PC sitting there.
We use a 14 day rotation of zipdisks for the primary backup that LifeSaver does on its own. (we can go back up to 2 weeks) It takes maybe 5-10 seconds per day to do so, and it is finished before the laser printer has finished with the daily report. This backs up the data files only and not the program files or our personal documents.

A couple times per week, we copy the full folders remotely to the house PC via pcAnywhere. We also put it on a 2gb memory key that I carry with me, on Saturdays. (c:\lifesaver\, \my documents\, \quickbooks\ and some other important folders.

About once per month, i'll burn a CD that goes home and into the safe.

Any time a new version of software is added, we copy our pos folder to another pc on the internal network, with the old version # as the folder name.

Paranoid? perhaps!
We have never actually had to use a backup in 4 years, but it's re-assuring to know the insurance is there if needed. We could be back up in about 5-10 minutes by installing it on a different machine.

How do you do it?

Originally posted by Peter Bowe:
I would be interested in finding out more from people who are using remote internet back-ups.
We use Connected for our off-site storage. Costs $16.95/month for up to 4GB of protected data. Higher rates for more. They maintain multiple copies of each file change, so you can very easily go back to the day before yesterday if you need to. It works completely in the background on an automatic scheduler. The only thing I do is check the log file once a week to make sure nothing has gone wrong.

I love it.
I do a back up on a floppy everyday. I have lifesaver and it prints out a daily closing on paper too.
I've been told that floppys are not good, but we had our computer crash once and the back ups worked great when we had to reboot our computer. It was a terrible day but the people at lifesaver were very helpful and kind.

It only takes a minute or two at the end of the day, so it's worth it to me.

A bootable CD would most likely be the Windows installation CD that probably came with your computer (your computer's BIOS also needs to support the El Torito bootable CD ROM specs, but most if not all computers made in the last few years are, so don't get too worried there). This will allow you the option of repairing or reinstalling Windows if you have a catastrophic error.

You can also create a bootable CD or floppy with a stripped down operating system (such as MS-DOS)and some utilities, but unless you're proficient with them they probably won't help much in a situation where you actually needed them.
Do you have your original Windows CD? OK, you're fine.
nightly into one of three flash drives which we alternate so if one or two fails, I got backup from three days ago.